Du Plessis has eyes on the prize
August 3, 2012
Bismarck du Plessis and the Sharks were spurred on by a loss to the Lions © Getty Images
Sharks hooker Bismarck du Plessis has shrugged off a personal milestone to stay completely focused on winning a first Super Rugby crown on Saturday.
The 28-year-old will play his 100th tournament game as the Sharks tackle the Chiefs in Hamilton, with their superb away record set to be tested by the hosts, who topped the New Zealand conference before defeating the in-form Crusaders to book a maiden final.
"This milestone is not really something I have been thinking about all that much, I don't want to be thinking about other things when there is a much greater task at hand," he said. "We have a great opportunity to achieve something as a team which is so much more special."
The Sharks have already racked up two notable scalps on the road in the play-offs, knocking over the reigning champions, the Reds, and the Stormers, who ran away with the South African conference. Nevertheless, Du Plessis has refused to take too much heart from their recent exploits.
"We take no confidence from our away record, this is a final, a one-off game where anything can happen," he said. "We wanted to make something happen for us as a team, everyone had written us off, especially after the Lions game which was really disappointing for us, so we sat down as a group and set ourselves certain goals.
"Then we started to achieve some of those goals and we built confidence, everyone was playing well for the team and things were happening for us, good things. And here we are, at the final."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Jim Mallinder and Justin Burnell were sat on the same top table, but in different circumstances. Tom Hamilton reports on the Aviva Premiership season launch
Tom Hamilton reports back from the launch of the Guinness PRO12 where there is a renewed sense of optimism with all of the off-field changes to the league
So much for the great Australian revival, writes Greg Growden. It now has the potential of going off the rails after the capitulation at Eden Park
The latest Week in Pictures takes in photographs from the Rugby Championship, the Top 14 and the southern hemisphere domestic scene